Student Health offered a free Hepatitis-B vaccination program last semester, but few students took advantage of the opportunity to protect themselves against the sexually transmitted disease. Officials at Student Health said that only 130 University students participated in the program and were hard-pressed to pinpoint why the turnout was so low. The program, which would normally cost $150 per vaccination, was part of a University-wide effort to teach students about the disease. But the low turnout revealed that most students were unfamiliar with the disease and the vaccine, according to Victor Waters, a Student Health staff physician. Waters added that the much-publicized AIDS epidemic has overshadowed other lesser-known venereal diseases such as Hepatitis-B. But despite its low-key image, Hepatitis-B, if undetected, can lead to liver cancer and death. Although there is no known cure, the disease can be treated. The symptoms, however, are often invisible, but may resemble flu-like symptoms. Despite the potential for widespread infections among the college population, tests of the 130 students revealed that only three of them were infected by the disease, said Waters. Waters said that he plans to include more educational and informational content in a similar vaccine program which will begin in October. That program will cost approximately $35 per student. --Matthew SelmanComments powered by Disqus
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